8/22/2015

Breast Cancer Fighter

When you do work for a non-profit, many people wonder why anyone gives up so much time for
free.  I believe it is because of the intrinsic rewards.   We all are called to give something back when given a chance to life.  There are many worthy organizations that do so much good. I select the ones that affects those I care about the most, friends and family. Thus, my choice is breast cancer.

Being a breast cancer survivor myself, I know it increases the odds of my children and grandchildren getting diagnosed one day. I don’t want any of them to have to go through it.  Being diagnosed and going through the rigors of chemotherapy, radiation and/or radical surgery is hard.  Life is forever changed, and other health issues develop, as a result of the treatment. My granddaughter is too cute to ever deserve cancer are the faces of little children I encounter in my life.

I have held a few hands of women that were dying of breast cancer. Their memories are permanently etched in my head. I want their legacy to live on.  I pray for them and their peace but the fight can’t end with their deaths.  The fight for finding a cure is as much about them as those still here.   Others that follow their story with a diagnosis and treatment need and desire a much happier ending.  Better treatments and earlier diagnoses will help that occur.

Several women I know have Stage 4 cancer. They go from one clinical trial to another. Metastatic cancer is real and it is not a pleasant experience, not physically or mentally.  You are living on borrowed time and spending far too much time either in bed or at a doctor’s office. And no one wants to ask how you are because they are afraid of the answer.  These women and their families deserve continued research, without end, till the day they can wake up and not having death hanging over their head.

The survivors of breast cancer frequently have secondary complications from treatment. Long after everyone has said congratulations, those effects set in. No longer is anyone asking how they are but yet they are dealing with challenges. 

Medication for breast cancer chemotherapy has a strong hormonal component to it. The drugs and the experience does play havoc with your emotions. It is common to have extreme depression, flashbacks from earlier times in your life and feeling downright moody and on edge.  It also causes, in many women, lymphedema. This is a painful condition that does not go away. Perhaps you have seen women out and about with flesh colored sleeves on their arms. This is to help them with it, but note, it does not cure the condition and behind the smile they wear is discomfort and pain living with this condition for the rest of their lives.  

There are far too many other long-term health conditions that can and do develop to mention. The effects it can have, long-term, are as varied as we are as people.  It is important to know and educate others that cancer treatment and being labeled a survivor is not the end of changes in a survivor’s live.


 I have spent far too much time working for breast cancer, to be honest. But I am clear about why I do it, for solutions and to increase awareness.  Foremost in my thoughts, when donating time, are those I know affected by breast cancer. It has a far-reaching arm of effect that includes caretakers and loved ones as well as the diagnosed.  I try to get others involved so they will develop a passion for donating their time and efforts, at least once a year, for the same cause, saving lives.

  

It is a lot to ask with everyone’s busy lives to get involved in breast cancer, any cancer or any cause. But if it were almost gone tomorrow, looking at the last few days here on earch and the diagnosis was staring you in the face, how would you feel?  Would you feel differently about donating, volunteering or walking for breast cancer? Think about it; take as much time as you need. Eventually the inevitable answer will come out, yes; you would feel compelled to help create change.   Then why wait?
 Images used in the making of this video link are all of Breast Cancer  survivors, those who passed on and those directly affected by someone very dear to them being diagnosed.  Most are survivors!